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‘Our enemy is denial’

Alissa Widman Neese • Aug 27, 2014 at 2:41 PM

In the battle against youth violence, society’s No. 1 enemy is a silent killer.

It isn’t the guns. It isn’t the shooters.

“Our enemy is denial,” contends Lt. Col Dave Grossman, a retired U.S. Army ranger.

Grossman, an internationally renowned scholar, author and speaker, visited BGSU Firelands on Tuesday to discuss his theories on school violence triggers. He has published numerous books on the topic and is considered an expert in the field.

Pervasive violent media — and society’s refusal to acknowledge the dangerous problem — is cultivating a generation of children who are trained to be killers, Grossman asserts.

His specialty is studying the psychology of killing, and what he calls the worldwide “virus” of violent crime.

“Children are committing crimes we’ve never seen before in human history,” Grossman said. “This is not business as usual, and it’s not normal”

During his presentation, Grossman criticized society’s reluctance to guard children from their most likely cause of death while attending school.

“In the past 50 years, not a single kid has been killed in a school fire, yet we still spend millions of dollars getting our buildings up to fire code,” he said. “But if you try to prepare for violence, people are offended”

Grossman advocates for preventive measures in school buildings, including armed educators, trained police officers, securely locked doors and “Clear Armor” laminate, which creates bulletproof glass windows.    

Likewise, he acknowledged this behavior shouldn’t be considered normal. “Whether you support armed educators or not, never lose your sense of outrage that this has to be commonplace” Grossman said. His ultimate goal is getting to the root of the problem.

Grossman advocates eliminating violent media from children’s lives, and enforcing strict limitations on their overall media exposure. The results, studies show: decreased violence, obesity and bullying, as well as happier, higherachieving students.

He called upon educators to make a difference. “We can never build enough prisons, medicate enough people or arm enough people to solve this problem,” Grossman said. “The teacher in the classroom will lead us home”

The Community Enrichment Series, Criminal Justice Club and Student Activities Department at BGSU Firelands sponsored Grossman’s visit.

Criminal justice lecturer Tracy McGinley and Newburgh Heights police Chief John Majoy, who also teaches classes at BGSU Firelands, coordinated the effort.

“Everyone likes to believe something like this would never happen in their community,” McGinley said. “Choosing not to talk about it only creates a larger problem. We need to have these discussions”

Before Grossman’s public presentation, he facilitated a four-hour professional development workshop for area educators, counselors, social workers and law enforcement officers. More than 50 people attended.

For more information about Grossman and his books on youth violence, go to killology.com  .

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